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Laura Fagan, an eighth grade social studies teacher from Windy Hill Middle School, took the title of 2015 Rookie Teacher of the Year for Lake County Schools at last month's Award Ceremony at Lake-Sumter State College.

"I want to share this recognition with you all," Fagan said to her fellow Rookie Teacher of the Year nominees. "This award could be justified going home with any one of you, and I believe that is something to celebrate."

The two other finalists for the annual award were Cynthia Murray, a kindergarten teacher at Eustis Heights Elementary, and Lindsey Massaro, a band teacher at Umatilla Middle. The Rookie Teachers of the Year Celebration was hosted by the Educational Foundation of Lake County and presented by Ernie Morris Enterprises and HON.

The finalists were selected based upon a panel of judges' review of their application. To be eligible for the award, teachers must have three years of experience or less. The final selection was announced after another panel of judges conducted on-site interviews and observed the three finalists in the classroom.

"It is an honor to have Mrs. Fagan recognized as the Rookie Teacher of the Year," said Amy Cockcroft, Principal at Windy Hill Middle. "She has an amazing ability to bring her content to life, while getting her students to reach high standards and all while having fun."

Fagan is in her second year teaching at Windy Hill Middle. She believes, "If asked, students would say my class is fun. But, I would argue that it is something else. What my students don't know is that there is a difference between fun and novelty. The novelty of the history is what makes it fun and exciting. I am thrilled to find my students captivated by history."

Other nominees from South Lake area schools were: Heather Fern, Clermont Elementary; Howard Gowan, Clermont Middle; Joseph E. Davidson, Cypress Ridge Elementary; Christopher Eck, East Ridge High; Tanci Levit, East Ridge Middle; Dana Colangelo, Grassy Lake Elementary; Cari Urankar, Gray Middle; Micaella Glenn, Groveland Elementary; Kacy Wolfe, Lost Lake Elementary; Jodi Cousins, Mascotte Charter Elementary; Luis Robles, Minneola Charter Elementary; Patricia Franklin, Pine Ridge Elementary; John Joseph Ardizone, Sawgrass Bay Elementary; and Eric Calabrese, South Lake High.
Laura Fagan of Windy Hill Middle School has been named Lake County's Rookie Teacher of the Year
Laura Fagan
Windy Hill Middle School Eight Grade Teacher Laura Fagan has been named Rookie Teacher of the Year for 2015. (Photo by Mike Corradino)

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